Enterprise, Alabama—they’re laying Addy Kate to rest today. It’s a small service. Her father will say a few words before folks give final goodbyes.
Only a year ago, Enterprise High School’s math teacher and JV volleyball coach, Callie White, bought a pregnancy test on her way to school.
“I texted my husband the news,” says Callie. “We were so excited.”
Callie White’s pregnancy was your all-American birth. Baby showers, swollen feet, strange food cravings. She delivered a magnificent seven-pound-eleven-ounce Addy Kate.
Life couldn’t get any better. The young family was all smiles.
But smiles didn’t last. Doctors found a tumor in Addy’s brain. The disease was moving fast.
The young family traded in its baby toys for oncologists. The diagnosis was worse than bad. It was terminal.
The tumor had already spread through her brain. Doctors said there was nothing they could do.
“Last thing any mother wants to hear,” says Callie. “Is that there’s NOTHING she can do.”
The Whites did their best to keep living, but it was nearly impossible. Addy’s condition was behind every thought, word, and sentence.
On Easter Sunday, the Whites organized a family supper. There were Easter baskets, colored eggs. It was supposed to be a good day, but something was wrong with Addy.
They rushed her to the emergency room. Doctors did tests and found her tumor was growing. They said it wouldn’t be long before she passed.
What an Easter.
One of the first things the Whites did was hire a photographer.
“We wanted photos,” says Callie. “We didn’t have pictures of the three of us yet.”
A photographer snapped the first and only family photos the Whites have together. And while they posed, the family enjoyed one of their only half-normal afternoons together.
It was short-lived.
Last week, Addy’s family took turns holding her with hospice nurses on call. They rocked her in their arms. They gave her morphine to make her comfortable. They prayed.
At 8:25 A.M., Addy’s chest stopped moving. The family cried. So did an entire community.
A community that’s been rooting for her. Since Addy’s diagnosis, there have been donations, free hospital flights, cake deliveries, custom T-shirts, casseroles, sympathy cards, fundraisers, and enough prayers to smother out the moon.
Enterprise High School started a scholarship fund with Addy’s name on it. And on Friday, schools like Dale County, Goshen, Enterprise, Houston Academy, and Dothan High wore gray in honor of Addy Kate.
There were collection jars at local softball games. Group prayers. People chanting Addy’s name.
“We’ve been amazed,” says Callie. “At how our community has reached out to us.”
This morning, a small service will be held. It won’t be much, but handfuls of South Alabamians will pay respects to a baby they never got to know.
Addy Kate will get the best send-off the Wiregrass region can muster. Not because she was beautiful. Not because she was three months old.
But because she was one of us.
And by God, she will be missed.